Chapter 6: How to Embarrass Yourself before the Royal Court 101
Rania groans in annoyance as she lays across the heavenly paradise of softness that is her new bed. She’s been sealed up in her room for the last hour with her only company being a stiff Hasani standing near the door. The man has not budged an inch, nor has he taken his eyes off her for even a second. This causes Rania to roll her eyes. It’s like he thinks she’s going to up and run for it as soon as he takes his eyes away. But where would she go? The sole reason she came here was to tell that poor excuse for a father to turn her back and send her home. She did not come here to play princess to a kingdom falling apart at the seams.
It’s then that a knock sounds at the door. Rania immediately sits up and waits as Hasani cracks it open and converses with the person on the other side. After about a minute, he closes the door and turns to her.
“The Pharaoh requires your presence in the Hall of Kings.”
Rania raises a brow. The Hall of what now? The name sounds like something out of a story book and definitely warrants more questions. Questions she would voice were it not for the fact that she’s being summoned because she’s in trouble.
She wordlessly allows Hasani to pull her along, still not quite able to swim with this complicated tail of hers’.
For some reason the trip to this “Hall of Kings” seems shorter than it ought to have been, but then it could also be in due part to some of her anxiety because of the knowledge that she’s in trouble. But now might be good time for her to make her demands. Rania has no intentions of remaining down here, and even less intention to get to know her dead beat, hard ass father.
The guards posted on either side of the great doors bow in indication of their knowledge of who she is before opening the doors for her. Hasani says nothing as he leads her in.
Rania’s mouth slips open just a bit when she lays eyes on the infinite amount of gold within this large hall. Pillars form a pathway down the middle leading to a grand statue at the back of the room with smaller statues lining the sides of the walls to her left and right with piles of treasure surrounding every inch of the room save the path. Draperies of royal blue have been languidly arranged along the walls with Egyptian symbols carved somewhere in every direction she looks. All in all, the room feels too damn exotic for her to feel like she belongs at all.
And at the center of it all is the Pharaoh. He stands before the statue, never having once turned to acknowledge her presence and this just makes her seethe. The man literally had her kidnapped because he wanted her down here so badly and now that she is, he won’t even bother to glance at her!
Hasani stops before the Pharaoh and bows. “My Pharaoh, I have brought the princess per your instruction.” And Hasani remains bowing after releasing Rania’s arm.
All is silent for about five minutes with Rania deciding to hear what the man has to say before she makes any demands.
Finally, he speaks, “It has been many years since I have last laid eyes upon your face Naunet.” Rania remains silent, staring at his back with a face void of emotion. King Aharon turns to her at last. “But that gives you no excuse to behave in such a brash display.” His sharp words pierce her life an arrow and she begins to grind her teeth together. King Aharon continues, “You are a princess and heir to the throne of Zivaria. I expect you to behave accordingly. I will have no more of that ridiculous behavior you revealed to me earlier.”
Rania waits. Expecting something else. Like a “I missed you so much” or “I’m sorry I was never there.” But King Aharon says nothing more and just stares at her expectantly. And it makes her livid.
A scowl settles upon her lips as she glares at him with fierce grey eyes like his own. “Look here, I did not come down here to be a damned princess or to behave like the perfect daughter! The only reason I came down here was to demand you make me human so I can go back home!” She growls out as her hands ball into tight fists. “I don’t give two shits about this world, this kingdom, the throne and least of all you! My life was perfectly fine before all this and I would appreciate having this part of my life being removed. I don’t want a damn thing to do with it so make with the magic and send me home!” Small pants fill the silence as Rania tries to reign in her anger. Not a once has she removed her glaring gaze from King Aharon who hasn’t even batted an eye at her outburst.
Then he replies, “I know not of what nonsense you speak, but you are home Daughter. That life on the surface you claim to have was nothing but a dream, temporary and nonexistent. You are yet young and a child of Zivaria, and as such you must obey the word of your King.”
Rania scoffs. “My King? I thought you were supposed to be my father. In that life I had, I had no king and just because you say so doesn’t mean I’m going to do a damn thing you said!” A growl emanates from Rania’s throat. “And now I’m telling you that I’ve had enough so send me back to me real home! You know, the one where I had an actual parent that gave a damn?”
Silence reigns once more as Rania and King Aharon engage in an intense stare down.
“There is no going back. I do not understand where you got such an idea, but I do not possess the power to give you what you wish,” King Aharon whispers coldly as he crosses his arms over his chest in a patronizing way. “Your mother chose to live on the surface, and it is by her choice that she remains there. However, you are a child of mine, so your place is here. Like it or not, this is your home and I am your father. I will hear no more of your petty complaints.” There’s a finality in his tone that even Rania struggles to fight against. It’s as though he’s drained all arguments from her with that single tone.
So, she says nothing, a frown on her face. She turns away having no more desire to be there.
Hasani, seeing this, sits up and turns to her. “Princess wait-”
“Leave me alone!” There’s a dangerous calm to her voice and it resonates such power as to render him motionless. She doesn’t care anymore so she leaves the room as best as she’s able, refusing any help to reach her room. Not even caring that she may have earned her father’s ire once more by leaving without being dismissed. The doors shut with a resounding bang that makes clear the anger with which she has left with.
Hasani turns back to King Aharon with an apologetic bow. “Forgive me my Pharaoh, I did not expect her to present such an outburst.”
King Aharon simply turns away. “I care not for it. She will learn in time, and within that time she shall eventually accept that this is her reality.” Having turned away from him, Hasani quickly surmises his dismissal when King Aharon says nothing more to him. So, he leaves in silence to check upon Rania and go about his duties.
When he’s finally alone King Aharon swims up to a part of the wall behind the great statue. He places a hand against it causing it to emit a gentle white glow. He removes his hand as the wall opens to a smaller chamber. He enters without hesitation as the room automatically lights itself.
Inside is a pedestal with a beautiful black opal possessed of a myriad of lovely hues of gold and blue. The stone emits a gentle light giving tell to the power it has been imbued with. King Aharon waves his hand over the stone causing its light to grow brighter as white magic particles take shape above it. Within these particles appear an image. A bronze skinned infant with the biggest grey eyes so bright and filled with the hope he once had. In human standards the child would be akin to that of a toddler with a little grey tail with pink fins in place of chubby legs. A smile adorns the child’s face as she stuffs her chubby fingers into her mouth while her other hand occupied itself with the little pink fins hidden beneath her curly black hair.
It’s plain to see that this is an infant Rania many years ago before she was taken to the surface. This image just being a physical manifestation of King Aharon’s memories of a child he left behind so long ago. This opal, his memory stone, is where such memories of his daughter are kept. Safe and hidden where none would think to find it.
His eyes regard the child before him as his mind thinks about the girl that stood before him moments before. He knew nothing of raising his child then, and he certainly knows less of raising her now. But the fact of the matter remains, she is a princess of Zivaria, and he’ll make certain that she acts like it.
Rania screams into her pillow in rage. The sound is muffled by the object so there shouldn’t be any sudden entrances of concerned merpeople worried about what she could possibly be doing.
An hour has passed since her meeting with King Aharon. Hasani had come to check upon her as well as lecture her about her behavior, but she paid him little to no attention. During that time, Ahti had come in to bring her something to eat. She had figured that the princess was hungry and took it upon herself to bring Rania a hot meal from the kitchens. After the two had left, Rania spent a good deal of time contemplating on how the hell they managed to cook heated food underwater, but eventually it gave her a headache, so she just chalked it up to magic. Then she proceeded to resume her simmering into her pillow for the next hour.
It’s then that her stomach growls loudly. Rania sits upon and slides her gaze over to the mouthwatering platter sitting on the table nearby. The dish contains some rather fancy looking steamed crab with a few pieces of fish and shrimp off to the side. Briefly does she wonder where the pieces of meat on the plate came from. At first glance it’s clear that it’s some type of bird, but merpeople don’t seriously pop up on the surface and snatch birds from the sky, do they? Then again, she briefly thinks about the seagulls that hunt the fish in the sea and the thought causes a grimace to come across her features. There’s no way a seagull could taste the least bit good. And yet this platter fit for royalty has her questioning such thoughts. So, she rises from her bed and clumsily swims over to the waiting plate which has most likely lost most of its heat by now.
She picks up a piece of the mystery meat and quickly pops it into her mouth to avoid talking herself out of it. Her face had been scrunched up in anticipation for some god-awful taste, but it quickly melts as she finds that the taste is reminiscent to the taste of baked chicken. A slight smile spreads across her face. At least she still gets some decent chicken down here, even if it isn’t actual chicken. Though she would prefer fried chicken, that doesn’t seem likely to happen under the sea.
From there, Rania proceeds to devour everything on the plate. Butting heads with her dead-beat father worked up quite an appetite in her. And the food is most heavenly in her mouth. The food alone makes her disregard all the cons of being royal because eating like this would make anyone willing to endure the trials and tribulations of the royal life.
When the tray is empty, she returns to her bed. Once again sleep calls to her as it had when she first set foot in this room and laid eyes on the bed. She so enjoys her frequent naps, and with her anger temporarily forgotten, Rania indulges in her most beloved luxury in life. Sleep takes her quickly with the added assistance of the comfortable sheets and pillows surrounding her. And she immerses herself in a dreamless slumber that washes away every emotion from the day…